Authorities say seven people are dead and seven wounded in a drive-by shooting in a student enclave next to the University of California, Santa Barbara.
Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown said the dead in the rampage in the Isla Vista neighbourhood included the suspected attacker who was driving a black BMW. Brown had earlier said the suspect exchanged gunfire with deputies before crashing into a parked car.
The circumstances surrounding the shootings were under investigation. Brown said the shootings occurred at several sites in Isla Vista, resulting in nine crime scenes.
Seven people were taken to hospital with either gunshot wounds or injuries sustained when the suspected shooter crashed his car. One was in a life-threatening condition.
An 18-year-old Newport Beach man who was visiting Santa Barbara described a confusing scene as the shots rang out.
Nikolaus Becker was eating near the scene when the first set of shots was fired about 9:30pm, according to the Los Angeles Times. At first he thought it was firecrackers. A group of three to five police officers who were nearby started to casually walk toward the sounds, said Mr Becker, but ran when a second round of shots broke out.
“That’s when they yelled at us to get inside and take cover,” Mr Becker said.
A black BMW took a sharp turn, Mr Becker said, and moments later a third round of shots was heard. Mr Becker and his friends moved toward the restaurant’s kitchen but were told to wait in the seating area by employees.
Czech exchange student Michael Vitak told local television station NewsChannel 3 he saw two women being shot. One was killed and the other was critically hurt. “I heard shots, screams, pain,” Mr Vitak said. “All emotions. I hope she is going to be fine.”
Another student told the station she was approached by the driver of a black BMW who flashed a handgun and asked her: “Hey, what’s up?”
The student, who did not give the station her full name, thought it was a pellet gun and kept walking. She said that seconds later, she felt something fly past her head, and soon realised it was a bullet.
Ten minutes after the first call was made to police, the suspect crashed his car into a parked vehicle. When police approached the BMW, they discovered the suspect was dead with a gunshot wound to his head, the Santa Barbara Independent reported. A semi-automatic handgun was recovered from the car.